Jeannette Baxter
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Recasting the human
Leonora Carrington’s dark exilic imagination
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This chapter explores a selection of Leonora Carrington’s English narratives written after her relocation from Paris to New York, and, eventually, to Mexico (‘White Rabbits’, 1941–42, The Stone Door, 1976, and ‘The Happy Corpse Story’, 1971). Not only were these works written in exile, the chapter argues – they are at core about exile experiences. By juxtaposing what she calls Carrington’s ‘dark exilic imagination’ with writings on the topic of exile by Hannah Arendt, Theodor W. Adorno, and Edward Said, this chapter teases out a disquiet haunting Carrington’s narratives regarding what it means to be human in a time of wartime horror, displacement, and cruelty. These exile writings, the chapter suggests, not only illuminate Carrington’s own personal history but provide a poignant reflection on the radical uncertainties of the modern human condition.

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